Microsoft Eliminates More MCP Benefits
Microsoft has announced plans to terminate the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Certified Membership Program effective September 30, 1999. I stumbled upon the announcement, which is posted at http://msdn.Microsoft.com/ community/mcp/default.asp, while searching the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) secure site. According to Microsoft, the termination will end the following benefits for MCPs:

  • The free technical sales expertise that Microsoft’s team of MCSDs and MCSEs provided. These engineers and developers were available to provide the technology answers MCPs needed (in a 24-hour turnaround time). The goal of this program was to give technical answers before MCPs made buying decisions relating to Microsoft products.
  • The discounts for MSDN Universal and Professional Subscriptions for MCSEs and MCSDs, including the $500 rebate on MSDN Universal Subscriptions and the $200 rebate on MSDN Professional Subscriptions.
  • Microsoft has suggested that you contact the company at msdnmcp@microsoft.com if you have any questions. I sent email registering my disapproval with all of this, and you can help by doing the same.

Qualifying as a Microsoft Certified Trainer
Almost 2 years ago, at my suggestion, one of my former students arranged for a group of fellow MCSE-certified students to take a train-the-trainer course and qualify for Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) status so they would have opportunities for better jobs or more pay at existing jobs. To qualify for MCT status, Microsoft requirements specify that you must provide proof of your "instructional presentation skills," which you can do in one of three ways. The first option requires that you prove you are an experienced technical trainer by including with your MCT application your instructor completion certificate from any of the following vendors:

  • Novell
  • Lotus
  • Santa Cruz Operation
  • Banyan Vines
  • Cisco Systems
  • Sun Microsystems

The second option requires that you become a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT). The CTT program, designed by Chauncey Group International, certifies technical presentation skills of trainers. To obtain the CTT designation, you must pass both a computer-based test, which assesses knowledge of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction (IBSTPI) Standards, and a videotaped performance assessment, which evaluates your skills in the standards. Costs for pursuing this option include a $150 testing fee for Sylvan Prometric and a $135 fee for the Chauncey Group for reviewing your 20-minute videotape. For more information, go to Chauncey’s Web site at http://www.chauncey.com. You can download a 48-page Adobe Acrobat bulletin from http://www.chauncey.com/ctt_bulletin_JULY98.pdf.

The third option entails taking a course from a Microsoft-approved train-the-trainer vendor. You can download a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing a list of Microsoft-approved vendors from http://www.microsoft.com/mct/docs/TTTlist.xls. These instructor-lead courses cost from $750 to $1395 and generally last 2 to 3 days.

I’m confident that the entire group of students would say that obtaining the MCT designation was one of the smartest decisions they’ve made for their careers—and they’d say this despite the fact that only two of them are currently teaching (each on a part-time basis). The reality is that adding an MCT designation to their resumes has made them more valuable.

All of them appreciated what they learned during the 3 days of training. Their trainer, Andrew Zeff, did an excellent job of honing their presentation skills, providing several helpful tools and tricks of the trade designed to instill confidence in their ability to present complex technical information to large groups. The skills these students learned will serve them well in their professions, whether they’re teaching in a classroom or presenting proposals in meetings.

Additional requirements for the MCT designation include the following:

  • You must obtain either MCSE or MCSD status before you can receive the MCT designation.
  • You must take and complete at least one instructor-led course at a Microsoft Certified Technical Education Center (CTEC) and meet the other qualifying requirements for teaching that course (e.g., pass the certification exam).
  • Unless you are employed by a CTEC, you must pay Microsoft a $200 application processing fee.

You can download the MCT the application from http://www.microsoft.com/ mct/docs/mct98app.doc. Microsoft has a habit of changing MCT requirements annually, so you might consider getting your MCT before the end of the year so you’ll be "grandfathered" in and exempt from the effects of program changes.